Being an indie writer means you’re a business

Among the best things about being an indie writer is control. You control when your book comes out, you decide what the cover will look like, you determine if a chapter will be edited out, you select where you’ll go on any promotional tours. In short, you are the publisher.

And that makes you a business.

For some writers, that’s a frightening notion. They didn’t start writing to become a businessperson, after all. But recognizing your new role – and exuberantly accepting it and the opportunities that it brings – often is the difference between being published or not and between selling books or not.

When you begin to think about your writing as a business, looking at five components common to companies, large and small, is useful:
• Production – This is the writing, editing and formatting aspect of your book. It is the creation of a product, namely your book.
 Finance – You’ll need some money to produce a book and probably the other three components below. You’re aiming to invest as little as possible, to keep costs low, and to generate enough profit from the book to cover your initial investment and to have a little leftover.
• Sales & Marketing – Once you publish a book, you will need to promote it. This includes setting up a website and using social as well as traditional media to promote your book. For most indie authors, the distribution element of sales is handled by the company that prints the book, such as
 Research & Development – Especially if writing nonfiction, you need feedback to determine if what your next book should be about and possibly to test elements of it to see if the idea is worth putting time and effort into.
• Legal – While not a major element for indie writers, you should be aware of copyright, libel and tax laws to avoid any legal snafus.

As writing your book, create a plan for how you’ll handle each of these components. It need not be a long detailed report, but a solid outline and continually learning about each as related to self-publishing will go a long way in helping you succeed as a business – and as a writer.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.